Senior counsel Dana Seetahal yesterday said repealing the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act, 2011 may have repercussions.
She said if a person had applied under the proclaimed law, he or she can claim, should the provision be amended, that an application was made under the repealed law and therefore was still entitled to the benefit.
Seetahal, who was speaking at yesterday's launch of the Drug Treatment Court Pilot Programme at City Hall, San Fernando, said, "Then you will have to look at the provision of the Interpretation Act to see if a person who is entitled to a benefit under a law at the time should be deprived of that benefit if the law is subsequently repealed."
She said Parliament should, in the repealed law, make provision for this scenario by stating a specific date for this retroactive effect.
Seetahal said she did not see this part of the Act as an error, as there would have been drafting of the section.
"And as I recollect, I checked the Parliamentary debates. There was an amendment in the Senate to that specific section and that was brought by, I think, the Minister of Justice (Herbert Volney), so it was done with knowledge.
"Blunder suggests that some slight, some incidental thing passed, (but) my recollection is from reading the debates that this was specifically addressed... So it could not have been a blunder in the sense that it was by inadvertence. It may have been a blunder otherwise, in that it was meant, but it was not expected, that there would have been this public understanding and reaction to that particular section... That might be the greater blunder [of] which you speak," she said.
Seetahal added, "The legislation sought to introduce a ten-year limitation with respect to indictable offences, for whatever reason I don't know, but it clearly allowed persons charged with fraud, corruption, terrorism, arson or under the sedition act, all of that, to seize that provision and to make use of it," Seetahal said.